Noise Induced Hearing Loss
When we are exposed to harmful loud noises – noises louder than normal everyday sounds such as traffic and television – there is a great possibility of damaging the sensitive structures in our inner ear. This is known as NIHL or Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Once these small sensory cells are damaged they will no longer convert sound energy into electrical signals that travel to the brain.
The cause of NIHL could be due to a number of factors. If you were to hear an intense sound such as an explosion, this could cause the problem. Continuous exposure to loud sounds in your working environment such as the noise generated heavy productive industries such as a metal work factory could also bring on NIHL.
Sound is measured scientifically in terms of intensity known as decibels. The noise from busy city traffic is around 85 decibels which is still perfectly safe to listen to. However any sound that reaches 120-150 decibels could cause problems and lead to NIHL. Some sounds which top around 85 decibel can lead to problems if you have been repeatedly exposed to the sound for long periods of time. Anything under 85 decibels shouldn’t lead to any hearing loss or damage.
Who is at risk?
Those mainly at risk from NIHL are those working in heavy productive industries such as metal works, drilling, stone cutting, quarrying or anywhere where noisy machinery is used. In the industry the condition is known as “industrial deafness”. However it is not just those confined to the work place as young people who use personal stereos and frequent discos are also at risk.
What are the effects and symptoms of NIHL?
Exposure to the harmful sounds of over 85dB causes damage to the hair cells in the cochlea as well as the auditory or hearing nerve. Impulse sound can result in immediate hearing loss that could be permanent. NIHL will begin to affect hearing of certain frequencies. This may also be accompanied by tinnitus which is a ringing or buzzing or even roaring in your ears which may subside over time. This hearing loss and tinnitus may just occur in one ear or it could be both and could carry on for the rest of your life, of if you lucky subside. If you have been exposed to loud noise for over a long period of time your symptoms will increase gradually. Over time sounds may become distorted or muffled, and it may be difficult for the person to understand speech. Someone with NIHL may not even be aware of the loss, but it can be detected with a hearing test.
Can NIHL be prevented?
Yes, NIHL is 100% preventable. It is just a lack of education and health and safety that brings on this ailment. When we know what noises are dangerous to us we can use preventive measures such as ear plugs. When working in a noisy environment it should be part of health and safety measures that everyone wares earmuffs. Children’s ears need to be protected when around loud sounds.
How to claim compensation for NIHL?
If you have suffered from industrial deafness or NIHL as a result of noisy workplace conditions in the past or present we can help you. All you need to do is call out phone number or fill out the online form. After a conversation with you over the phone we will decide whether you have a case or not. If we believe you have a strong case we will represent you on a “No Win No Fee” basis which means there is not cost or risk to you.